Star runner is ‘dreaming big’

Sophomore Kimi Shank eyes the finish line at the Southern Stampede. Shank finished third overall.

Caleb Primm

Sophomore Kimi Shank eyes the finish line at the Southern Stampede. Shank finished third overall.

Meagan Morrison

Since she has been at Missouri Southern, Kimi Shank, sophomore health promotions major, has torn through the Southern record books.

As a freshman, Shank finished in the top 20 at every meet. She placed 7th in the MIAA championships, helping the team to a 1st place finish. Shank also placed 13th in the NCAA-II regionals.

After receiving offers to run cross country for schools such as University of Missouri, University of Missouri-Rolla, Southeast Missouri and Drury, Shank found her way to Missouri Southern.

“The campus reminded me a lot of my hometown college (UMR),” said Shank.

“I also loved the fact Southern had its own course right on campus.”

Originally, Shank didn’t believe cross-country was the sport for her.

“I thought it would be boring running around a track that many times,” she said. “Then I realized that they run on a course rather than a track.”

With a little bit of force from her parents, she joined the Rolla High School cross-country team as a freshman.

“They wanted me to join the team because they knew I had a pretty fast mile,” she said. “But, I was afraid that running 3 miles was too far to race. Before then, the farthest I had run was a mile and a half. Now I run up to 11 miles at a time.”

In high school, Shank was a three time all-state runner and a two-time all-district athlete, all while setting the school’s record in the 5k run.

“I was one of those kids that tried a million sports before I found one I was good at,” said Shank.

After winning MIAA Runner of the Week last year, Shank was determined to win the honor again this year. Sure enough, the week of September 17th she had won it again.

“I worked my butt off all summer, so it was nice to be recognized for racing well,” she said.

Shank has won the last two meets, Loyola Lakefront Invitational and Missouri-Illinois Border War, in the individual standings.

“Winning my first college race [Loyola Lakefront Invitational] was a big day for me,” she said. “It reminded me of my high school days and my mom got to be there to see it.”

Shank surprised herself when she came in 3rd place overall in September at the Southern Stampede. With a time of 17:34, it was her fastest time on the course.

“It boosted my confidence,” Shank said. “Now I know I can dream big.”

With a competitive spirit and a drive to do well, her goal for the season is to make it to nationals either by placing in the top 5 at regional or by qualifying as a team.

Shank believes her “heart” is what separates her from most runners.

“I want to win really bad,” she said.

“I try to stay positive and never give up.”

Despite not wanting to run cross-country before, Shank believes running has helped her find her identity.

“I LOVE cross country now,” said Shank. “I can’t imagine my life without it. I just lace up my shoes and do my thing.”